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Sense, Not Dollars

So you encourage taxing things to force people to do things the “right way” (“Paper or Plastic?,” “First Word,” Dirk Dusharme, March 2008). Sounds like socialism to me. I prefer capitalism. If there truly is a problem with plastic bags, then environmental regulations should require that they be disposed of properly and the costs added to the cost of business. If the merchant chooses to pass those costs onto the customer, then change will take place. All you have encouraged governments to do is tax more stuff--then they get used to the revenue and when people all but abandon the plastic bags, they will tax something else to continue wasting our money. I would rather get people and business to come up with better ideas (when was the last time the government came up with any creative ideas?) than forcing us into a false choice. Solve problems with ideas, not taxes and force.

--Mark Pongracz



Scott Paton, in “It’s About Leadership, Stupid” (“Quality Curmudgeon,” March 2008), crystallized my uneasiness about this election and really identified for me what I have felt during the last year. None of the preferred candidates by either party are leaders. They are all politicians, in it for the glory. Thank you, Scott.

-- Lorraine Morris


How about the same article for leaders in quality? The leaders in quality operations are just politicians who have convinced top management (who know nothing of quality) that they know everything. They think quality is only about rejecting stuff. They know nothing of the real purpose of ISO 9001, that it is a quality management system and not just a function of the quality department.

I’ve been in the quality profession for 51 years and seen MIL-I-45208 and MIL-Q-9858A come and go. Unfortunately, today’s top management is still trying to say that quality is the quality department’s responsibility and not everyone’s job.

--Morris Taylor


I appreciate and agree with the article to a certain degree. Yes, leadership is one of the most important attributes our politicians should possess, but it certainly cannot and should not be simplistically based primarily on “leadership.” That is similar to naively proclaiming that love is all you need for a successful marriage.

I believe that the author and I share the same political ideology, but I can’t assume that he and I agree on what makes a leader great. After all, one could argue that guys like Hitler, Castro, bin Laden, and Ahmadinejad are “leaders.” Given the dangerous and fluid world in which we live today, yes, I want a president who is a great leader, but I want to be assured that she or he will act and make decisions that are in the best interest of the United States as they affect our national security, financial stability, and growth.

--Kevin Yamada


A Sensor By Any Other Name

In “Making Sense of Sensors” ( Inside Metrology, Fred Mason, http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12631), it is interesting to note that we perceive reality by way of sensors, and sensors almost always influence the reality we perceive.

Therefore theoretical knowledge of the perceived variable, in particular statistical characteristics, may not be appropriate when characterizing or explaining the variable.

Too often, theoretical statistical characteristics are imposed on the sensor output and the variable is incompletely or incorrectly characterized.

Although research laboratories may use techniques to minimize the influence of sensors, other operations may do better to utilize the observed statistical distribution to understand the variable of interest.

-- Stanley L. Alekman


Great reading. I found it interesting that many users, including myself, use the term “sensors” to describe most inspection tools, including vision and other noncontact equipment. A contact probe scanning head falls in this discussion as well.

--Pat Mancini



“Pursuit of Mediocrity” (“Guest Columnist,” Paul Differding, March 2008) was one of the better guest editorials of the past several years. The only thing missing was the fact that Sick Sigma has been a major driver in dumbing down product quality in this country, simply because it thrives on the notion that better quality means ever-cheaper products and services. The author goes a long way toward debunking that idiocy.

--Jim MacMurdo



Regarding “All Those Datum Things Workshop No. 5” by William Tandler ( InsideMetrology , http://qualitydigest.com/IQedit/QDarticle_text.lasso?articleid=12583 ), I’d like to add one word to Bill’s definition of GD&T: “As we know, GD&T is a symbolic language with which to specify permissible limits of [dimensional] imperfection in manufactured parts, namely limits that maximize the parts’ operability, assemblability, and affordability.” There are many limits in manufactured parts and assemblies that GD&T cannot address: hardness, viscosity, durometer, etc. GD&T specifies dimensional control of solid product.

--Brian Heersink


I saw no reference to how datum features are chosen to be datum features: Fit, form, and function. You would be surprised how many people still do not get the purpose of selecting the right features for datums. Some don’t even grasp the need for datums on complex parts, so they’re still having problems getting what they want from vendors.

--Robert Burroughs